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  • SuePattonThoele

Growing Through Grief



Grief is inevitable. Growing through grief is a choice.


When grief is fresh, our thoughts rarely turn to the idea of what grief has to teach us. No, in the beginning hours, days, and especially nights, of grief, taking the next breath is sometimes all we have energy for. Early stages of grief can include disbelief, terror, rage, temporary collapse, inability to think clearly, and helplessness, plus innumerable other overwhelming feelings. During times of intense loss and grief, please be gentle with yourself, cradle your gasping heart, and allow others to help you.


Because we are incredibly resilient beings, healing ultimately begins to touch our hearts and souls. Numbness ebbs into awareness, fury cools to anger, and our brains falteringly creep from their caves. Cautiously, you are turning your face toward life as it is now. This is the time you may fleetingly wonder what you can learn from this anguish. The idea of how you might help others going through similar trauma may also begin to germinate in the depths of your consciousness.


As a therapist and facilitator of hospice grief support groups, I have seen a lot of grief and, of course, experienced my share. Not all, but most women come through loss and grief—whether from death, divorce, war, betrayal, abuse, disillusionment—with their hearts broken

open, not shattered beyond repair. They have gone through fire and emerged more deeply attuned to themselves and others, ripped open only to discover increased compassion, empathy, and understanding. It appears woman are experts at gleaning growth as the vast majority of us grow more able to love under the tutelage of grief.


During your day...


  • Tuck the idea of growing through grief into a soft corner of your heart to be retrieved when needed.

  • Love and accept yourself unconditionally during times of loss and grief. Doing so probably won’t be easy, but will definitely facilitate healing.


The difficulties of our lives can soften us, make us

kinder to each other and more compassionate.


—Pema Chödrön

Excerpted from The Woman's Book of Strength by Sue Patton Thoele. Available on Mango and Amazon.

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